By Simon Phillips
I like to do my bit for the planet by doing things like recycling and not using plastic bags for my grocery shopping, but my girlfriend takes green issues even more seriously. Recently she started trying out all kinds of DIY cleaning tips using eco-friendly products. To my surprise these strange concoctions made from things like baking soda and vinegar actually seem to do the trick. As well as being good for your apartment’s air quality, you can cut down on packaging and reduce the number of cleaning products you need, and save money at the same time. Here are some of the green cleaning tricks I’ve picked up, which you can try out for yourself next time you’re cleaning your apartment.
Upholstery – Baking soda works wonders at removing stains from upholstery. To get rid of spots of greasy food on a polyester seat or cushion, rub dry baking soda into it and then brush off. Vinyl seats such as recliners or barstools can be cleaned by using baking soda mixed to a paste with water.
Metal Surfaces – You can bring the shine back to a stainless steel sink by cleaning it with baking soda sprinkled onto a damp cloth. You can clean chrome faucets and other fittings by using a paste of baking soda and water and buffing dry. This works on metal barstools as well.
Flooring – To stop spills from staining carpet, remove any solids and then pour club soda onto the area. You’ll need to act quickly and do this as soon as the spill happens. The club soda will help bring the spill to the surface and stop staining. When vacuuming, add baking soda and a few drops of a pleasant smelling essential oil to the bag to reduce unpleasant odors.
Wooden Furniture – Ditch the synthetic spray polish and use olive oil mixed with a small amount of lemon juice instead. Rubbing mayonnaise on water marks helps shift them, and lemon juice helps remove heat marks from wood.
Laundry – Adding a spoonful of washing soda crystals to each wash makes hard water softer and reduces how much regular laundry powder you need to use. Stubborn stains, including red wine, tomato sauce and curry, can be removed from clothes by soaking them overnight in a mixture of 1 cup of washing soda to 1 pint of water and then washing as normal.
Bathroom – Use an old toothbrush and a paste of baking soda and water to clean up old grout on tiles around the tub. Scrub shower curtains with baking soda or a few drops of white vinegar to remove mildew. Pouring half a cup of baking soda and 1 cup of vinegar down the plughole in the sink and tub can unclog blocked drains and if you do this regularly can prevent future blockages. The same mixture can be used to remove lime scale deposits from a showerhead – leave it to soak in the mixture for an hour before running hot water through it.
Kitchen – Soaking greasy roasting tins in hot water and baking soda to loosen the grease and encrusted food makes them much easier to clean. An effective multi-surface cleaner can be made from 2 cups of hot water, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of borax, 1 teaspoon of baking soda and a drop of washing-up liquid. A homemade disinfectant can be made from 2 cups of water, 3 tablespoons of washing-up liquid and 25 drops of tea tree oil.
Windows and mirrors – A really simple way of cleaning windows and mirrors that really works is to spray undiluted white vinegar onto the surface and then buff to a shine using scrunched up newspaper or a paper towel.
Simon Phillips is a writer, interior design enthusiast and co-founder of GetBarstools.com. He loves finding eco-friendly, money-saving ideas for the home.
Category: Going Green